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“Mr Later! I believe the correct expression is ‘Secret Island Ahoy!’

How do you follow up a trilogy of stories with the Master? With the return of… Melanie Bush?! I invite you to read further where we will find out just how this fares.

According to the Big Finish Solicit:

“Come to Ricosta! Tropical climate, untouched beaches, fabulous cuisine… and no extradition treaties. The perfect retirement planet for a certain type of ‘business person’ – such as Ms Melanie Bush, formerly the co-owner of the Iceworld emporium, now on the run from her former criminal associate’s criminal associates…

Some other former associates of Ms Bush are abroad in this space Costa del Crime, however. Not long ago, the time and space traveller known as the Doctor arrived here, alongside his sometimes-criminal associate, the reformed juvenile offender Ace. But now the Doctor’s gone missing – and Melanie Bush is about to learn that on the planet Ricosta, the wages of sin… are death.”

Say what you will about Melanie Bush but I always thought it was really a shame that we only ever got one TV episode where Mel and Ace traveled together. In this story we finally get to see whatever became of Mel in her post Iceworld years, and the answers just might surprise you.

It’s not easy to follow up a highly anticipated trilogy like the 2 masters series we just got but all I needed to hear was “written by Matt Fitton” and I was game. Not everything is going to be “Dark Eyes 4” but Matt always does such a nice job of cleverly playing within continuity which is why he’s such a spot on choice to answer the question of “how do we bring Mel and the Doctor back together?” And while he’s at it he answers the questions…. “How has life changed for the plucky, clever, and impetuous Melanie Bush?”… and “Would we recognize her?”

Great questions to ask and it’s all staged in what appears to be a heist-gone-horribly-wrong type plot.

My Favorite Things From This Month’s Release:

  • Melanie Bush: Duh, it’s her homecoming, this one is written for us to enjoy her and puzzle after what she’s been up to all this time. I’ve really grown to enjoy Mel much more as a Big Finish character and I always wanted more of the Mel and Ace dynamic. This story delivers that reunion in a very satisfying way. I’m very much looking forward to the rest of this trilogy.
  • The Doctor: We get a very spastic and scattered 7th doctor, I’ve said it before in my reviews of the Bernice Summerfield sets that this is one of my favorite versions of 7. I like calculating and stern 7 too but McCoy’s humor is so delightful that I can’t help but crave more of it.
  • Gloria: she was fun! What a layered character and quite the clever scoundrel.
  • Ace: Her role in this one was a bit more understated than I’m used to but her interactions with the returned Mel were particularly fun. Ace doesn’t quite know what to make of a bolder Mel and it’s funny to see Ace slightly taken aback.

I didn’t expect to like this one as much as I did. I’m not much of a heist genre buff but there was plenty there for me to enjoy.

This one calls back to continuity a lot and in that regard I loved it. If you were a new listener this is NOT the story that I’d recommend. If you really dig on your classic 7th Doctor history you will really enjoy this.  I’d give this story a well rounded 4 out of 5 stars.

How was the return of Mel for YOU? I’d like to see someone like Ace come in contact with the 8th Doctor. Is there another companion return or odd Doctor/Companion pairing that you’d like to see? Let me know in the comments below or by shooting us a message to letters(at)grawlixpodcast.com.

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